Shelley Gautier on Mobility Cup

Reflections on 2005 Mobility Cup
Calgary, Alberta, August 24 – 27, 2005
by Shelley Gautier

My goals for the regatta:

1. To sail in silver fleet and come in the top 10.
2. To watch the gold fleet make vital race decisions and learn from them.
3. To be the best female racer in silver fleet.
4. To sail close to the wind.

My trip started Tues. August 16. I traveled to Edmonton and spent some time there. My friends Andrew and Sarah then drove me to Calgary on August 19. I stayed at Robb Lawrence’s house. I then went to the Glenmore Sailing Club where we met up with some of our fellow competitors.

On Sunday I took a boat out and went sailing. It seemed as though there was no wind at the Glenmore Reservoir. It felt like I was in Toronto Harbour. I used all of my fair wind sailing techniques and sailed out to the point and back to the dock. It took me about an hour and a half, as the wind was quire light.

Monday was the day when boats that came from other parts of Canada were unloaded from the container sent by CN Railways. Volunteers were there getting the boats ready to be put in the water.

Race day 1:

It rained and was very windy, racing was cancelled the first day. A severe storm system brought with it cool temperatures, 50mm of rain and sustained winds of over 35km/h gusting to 60km/h.

Race Day 2:

It felt good being out there sailing. Wind was blowing at 30 km/hr. The wind was shifty and I was able to catch puffs of wind. With the Puffs I was able to tack and take advantage of the wind. I started well but then I had trouble with pinching. I found it very difficult going around the windward mark, there I went into irons. Boats were passing me. I came in 10th.

For the second race I lined up near the start line, when the start came I was out alone in first place. I was too close to the wind. I found that it became difficult after the start to go fast, Boats were passing me. I came in 9th.

The third race, I once again was in the lead after the start. I again was pinching too much. I was able to pass three boats coming downwind. I ended up coming in 8th.

Today, I learned about testing the wind, not to assume that I am not close enough to the wind. I will try going closer to the wind tomorrow but I won’t pinch. My main sail was not pulled up high enough. So I had trouble adjusting my main sail.

Race Day 3:

Before the race I practiced looking at my ticklers and sailing close to the wind. I was able to tack and take advantage of wind shifts. I thought I would do well racing. Unfortunately the wind died at race time. Racing was delayed until abandonment was called.

Race Day 4:

Light winds blew, it was about 2-3 knots. There were 19 Martin 16s in our fleet. The race was frustrating. I was good at the start. I was first going round the windward mark an hour into the race. I concentrated on getting around a stalled boat at the windward mark. Then the whistle blew. The race had been abandoned. Unfortunately there was no more sailing.

For the afternoon gold fleet racing I accompanied Graham Alvey. The wind went up to 5-8K during the race. I talked to Graham about crossing the start line. I learned a bit more. I had a good view of what was going on. I got to see the boats ahead of us and immediately behind us. After we raced I was able to talk to Graham and ask questions that I had about the race.

Overall summary

With no throwout I came in 9th overall. I was 5 points away from the 8th place boat. The Silver Fleet is for sailors new to Mobility Cup, and for those that wish to LEARN MORE about competitive sailing. I am one who wants to learn as much as possible.

The regatta was won by Greg Roque, a new Alberta sailor who was sailing at his first regatta. Rod Mack a Vancouver sailor came in second at his first regatta. Richard Dionne came in 5th at his second regatta. Hopefully these people can use what they have learned to continue sailing and to teach others how to sail.

I had a great time and I learned a lot. I am looking forward to going again next year, although I don’t know where it is.

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